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Court Rules IEBCs Decision to Abandon Manual Register Unconstitutional

The court has overturned the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's (IEBC) decision not to use the manual voter register to identify voters in the August 9th elections.

High Court Judge Mugure Thande ruled Thursday that this is unconstitutional and ordered that the manual register be used as well.

“The decision by IEBC via a letter dated June 10, 2022, stating that the first respondent shall not use the manual register voter in the general elections of Tuesday 9, 2022 is unconstitutional and the said decision is hereby quashed,” the court ruled.

Judge Thande stated that the commission's reasoning that the printed version could be manipulated was insufficient and that the decision was too harsh because the technology could also be manipulated.

She stated that there was a possibility that the KIEMs kit would fail, thereby jeopardizing the rights of an eligible voter.

IEBC. PHOTO FILE

The court also ordered the IEBC to take all necessary steps to ensure that the petitioners' and citizens' constitutional rights are observed and respected and that administrative arrangements are made to ensure that no eligible citizen is denied the right to vote in the elections.

She claims that if the decision is left unchallenged, voters' constitutional right to vote under Article 38B will be violated.

Justice Mugure Thande overturned the IEBC letter to Azimio, stating that they will only use KIEMs kits to identify voters.

“What then will happen to a registered voter whose details cannot be picked by the KIEMs kit for the failure of technology in light of the decision by IEBC not to use printed register?” the court stated.

The court ruled that the commission's decision to abandon the printed register violated the constitution's clear provisions, which state that if an electronic voter identification device fails, the voter must be identified using a printed register.

“As a result, of IEBC’s decision not to use the printed voter register, there is a real risk of disenfranchising eligible voters, this court must therefore step in through its supervisory jurisdiction to ensure that the commission though independent operates subject to the law,” Justice Mugure ruled. 

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